This past winter I started buying organic eggs, since the price of regular eggs had risen so high that the organic eggs were only slightly more expensive. Wow!!! The organic eggs are SO much better! I continue to be amazed at how different the taste, shell texture, and raw contents of the eggs are, compared to the non-organic varieties. I’ve tried a few different brands of organic now, and notice the same benefits with all of them.
This morning we had scrambled eggs, and it’s wonderful to once again have light, fluffy, delicious eggs that taste and smell like “real” eggs are supposed to, and as I remember them being when I was younger. While she was still alive, my grandma often used to remark on how products like these had changed over her lifetime, and how she was sorry we wouldn’t have the same high quality foods she had once enjoyed. We have much more variety and availability of foods in the off-season than she had ever imagined, but the quality of the average meat and dairy products available in the stores has been radically reduced. We have to seek out specialty products in order to approach what was “normal” for grandma in decades past. Now that I can see the huge difference in eggs alone, I begin to realize what she was talking about!
I’m weary of the usual brands of salsa sold in grocery stores that are basically a chunky mess of chopped tomato, onion, and pepper. One of the nice things about dining out at a Mexican restaurant is that the salsa is usually much more blended and smooth, with a subtler, stronger, spicy flavor. For a long time we were unable to find such a salsa in a jar at the store, so my husband sometimes would make his own large batches of it on the stove.
At last, though, we found it: Melina’s brand salsa! Sold at large chains like Hy-Vee, Cub Foods, Target, and many smaller grocery stores. This salsa has a smooth, soft texture–no big chunks of anything! The basic flavor is sweet, pure tomato, mixed with plenty of sweet chili pepper, garlic, cooling cilantro, and a little spicy jalapeno zing! Melina’s Mild is strong enough to pack a punch, but is still enjoyed by the smaller kids and doesn’t burn. The Medium is much stronger than a Medium in most of the typical brands–it will really heat up your mouth, and my little kids find it much too powerful. I’m not brave enough to try the Hot, so I leave that to those willing to have a mouth in flames!
If you like broccoli and scallops, you may enjoy this light, easy recipe:
1 cup cooked rice (either use leftovers, or begin by preparing extra: put 1 cup jasmine rice into 1.5 cups water, bring to soft boil, reduce to simmer, cook 18-20 min. total or until done)
5-6 large frozen or fresh sea scallops (around 4-5 oz)
1 cup fresh broccoli, cut into small bite-sized chunks
1/2 tsp minced or crushed garlic
canola or other light oil
soy sauce (and hot sauce or chili paste, if desired)
Thaw scallops in refrigerator in advance, or cover completely with cold water in a bowl for 5-10 min. Heat 2-3 tsp canola oil in small nonstick skillet. Add garlic and cook over med. heat until fragrant. Add broccoli and saute for 1-2 minutes until it begins to soften. Turn up heat to med. high, add scallops, and sear on both sides for 1-2 minutes or until scallops are almost cooked through. Add 1 cup pre-cooked rice and stir for 1 min. until heated. Add a tsp. of soy sauce and 1/2 tsp of hot sauce or chili paste (add more or less to taste). Gently stir in the sauce for another minute or until scallops are done (just after they turn white and are no longer translucent). Makes 1 full meal serving, approx. 450 calories. Recipe can be doubled as needed, but use a larger skillet.